I came upon this article today. We have three choices: destroy ourselves in the next 100 years through warfare; destroy ourselves in the next 100 years through environmental catastrophe; or, by some miracle, avoid disaster by radically and aggressively addressing the habits that are leading to warfare and environmental catastrophe. The article’s author asserts that “There will be sacrifices to deal with global warming, and we will need to change some habits of long-standing.”
I’m sick of hearing, “Things must change.” Yeah. Duh. How about something a bit more concrete? And don’t go pointing me to the “50 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet” article or the 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. Nothing against either resource, but I doubt that’s going to be enough. Recycling soda cans is a drop in the bucket, an important drop but a drop nonetheless, and doesn’t do anything to address the over-consumption that is the more fundamental problem.
If we are guilty of over-consumption, the logical thing to do is to consume less. But what does Consume Less look like? Does it mean eating less? Buying fewer groceries? Buying in bulk? Driving less? Foregoing the seasonal wardrobe update? Passing over that new video game? Going to bed when the sun goes down so you don’t use electric lights? Where are the parts of our lifestyle that over-consume resources? Because I’m willing to bet that there are big black holes of resource consumption that we are entirely unaware of.
And I’m pretty sure that we can’t wait for “the next administration – of either party – (to) shift from apocalypse to reality … to turn back the environmental tide and save the 21st century for our grandchildren.” Change happens out here, among individuals, in small groups. Change is an idea that starts locally, among neighbors, and catches on and spreads until it’s just the Way Things Are. But nothing will change enough to save us until we individuals know what our patterns of consumption are really costing us all.